American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. One of a variety of writs that may be issued to bring a party before a court or judge, having as its function the release of the party from unlawful restraint.
- n. The right of a citizen to obtain such a writ.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In law, a writ issued by a judge or court, requiring the body of a person to be brought before the judge or into the court; specifically, such a writ (entitled in full habeas corpus subjiciendum) requiring the body of a person restrained of liberty to be brought before the judge or into court, that the lawfulness of the restraint may be investigated and determined. The right to freedom from restraint without regular legal process, which had always existed at common law, was affirmed by Magna Charta; but arbitrary imprisonment was practised by despotic kings and compliant courts till the latter part of the reign of Charles I., and still occasionally till the passage of the Habeas Corpus Act (which see, below) in that of Charles II. The right to the writ in special cases can still be suspended by legislative authority, both in Great Britain and in the United States, in a time of war or great public danger.
- n. law A writ to bring a person before a court or a judge, most frequently used to ensure that a person's imprisonment, detention, or commitment is legal.
GNU Webster's 1913
- (Law) A writ having for its object to bring a party before a court or judge; especially, one to inquire into the cause of a person's imprisonment or detention by another, with the view to protect the right to personal liberty; also, one to bring a prisoner into court to testify in a pending trial.
- n. a writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge
- n. the civil right to obtain a writ of habeas corpus as protection against illegal imprisonment
- Latin habeas corpus ad subjiciendum ("You (shall) have the body to be subjected to (examination)"), referring to the body of the person being detained (not the body of a victim, as in corpus delicti). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Medieval Latin habeās corpus, produce the body (from the opening words of the writ) : Latin habeās, second person sing. present subjunctive of habēre, to have + Latin corpus, body. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“All admit that this is a case in point, because, as by the action of replevin, the property is taken from the hands of the officer, so by the writ of habeas corpus is the body of the prisoner.”
“Some state judges so captiously disputed the constitutionality of various military laws that the writ of habeas corpus had to be suspended.31”
“If goods will be taken from a federal officer's custody by process from a State Court, because he detained them wrongfully, though by color of an act of Congress, a fortiori, will a habeas corpus lie to deliver a man from false imprisonment.”
“Moore contended that this reasoning failed in its application to the Confederate government, and argued that the judiciary act of the United States gave to the Federal Judges jurisdiction by habeas corpus in cases of confinement, under color of authority of the U. States, as well as by by virtue of that authority; whereas, the”
“* Judge MANLY was absent during the greater part of the term on account of sickness, and did not participate in the consideration of any of the cases of habeas corpus decided at this term.”
“Those respecting the press, religion, and juries, with several others, of great value, were accordingly made; but the habeas corpus was left to the discretion of Congress, and the amendment against the re-eligibility of the President was not proposed.”
“His most noted legal argument was the appeal in habeas corpus proceedings on behalf of Vallandigham in”
“In re Veremaitre, Am. Law Journal, 438, the Court said: "a State Court has no jurisdiction on habeas corpus to discharge a soldier or sailor held under law of the United States.”
“The absence of express declarations ensuring freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of the person under the uninterrupted protection of the habeas corpus and trial by jury in civil, as well as in criminal cases, excited my jealousy; and the re-eligibility of the President for life, I quite disapproved.”
“First the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly & without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal & unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land & not by the law of nations.”
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